Jason Khan – Things Fall Apart


CD – Herbal International

A battery, his own voice, some metallic items, a radio, a mixer, several touch microphones, a magnetic reel, a speaker, a computer, some chairs and some plastic bags: these are the raw materials used by Jason Khan in Things Fall Apart, a powerful title and a literary quote. The album refers to the novel of the same name by African writer Chinua Achebe. For the New York audio-artist (now based in Zurich and working for Herbal International) it is a metaphor for declining social structures, economies, environments and entire nations. It’s not the first time that Khan has performed improvisational electroacoustics constructions. He is a skillful manipulator of drums and can juggle ideas with an undeniable experimental expertise. A self-confident articulation of sounds is clearly present early in this work, even if the title is suggestive of an unconventional approach that dispenses with previous systems and performance practices. The (only apparent) lack of cohesion in the project is a result of a flux of unexpected events that have developed out of new creative processes. The fourteen tracks were recorded in the broad space of Kunstraum Walcheturm (320 sqm with a ceiling of almost 4 meters), a kind of acoustic chamber with a wooden floor and a strong reverb. It wasn’t easy for the artist to extract the best sonic possibilities from such a location, but this work testifies to Khan’s ability to play with sound and space, creating moments of magical enchantment. This is a very good album that needs to be tasted in one breath without excessive conceptualization.